Facts and figures: Gender-based violence against Venezuelan refugee women in Colombia and Peru

Facts about Venezuelan people on the move:

Overall figures on gender-based violence in Colombia and Peru:

  • In Colombia, the Comprehensive System on Gender-Based Violence (SIVIGE) reported 122,758 cases of gender-based violence in 2020:
    • 58,904 cases of physical violence
    • 31,635 cases of sexual violence
    • 18,967 cases of neglect and desertion
    • 9,782 cases of psychological violence.
  • In Peru, the Aurora Programme, via the Women’s Emergency Centres (CEMs), registered 114,495 cases of gender-based violence in 2020*:
    • 55,995 cases of psychological violence
    • 44,125 cases of physical violence
    • 13,843 cases of sexual violence
    • 532 cases of patrimonial violence

Figures on gender-based violence against Venezuelan refugee women:

  • Despite high levels of under-reporting, gender-based violence against refugee women has increased in Colombia and Peru.
    • In Colombia, the number of cases of gender-based violence increased from 166 cases reported in 2017, to 2,430 in 2018 and 4,165 in 2020.
      • 80.89% of cases of violence against Venezuelan women in 2020 occurred in the home, 11.5% in the street and 7.6% in other spaces.
    • In Peru, the number of cases of gender-based violence against refugee women rose from 1,384 in 2019 to 1,818 in 2021*.
  • In Colombia, 24.1% of women have experienced discrimination or have been unfairly treated because they are Venezuelan refugees. Of these, 58.8% said that they had experienced such violence in the street.
  • In Peru, about 70% of the foreign nationals supported in the CEMs between 2018 and 2021 were Venezuelan women*.
    • The number of cases supported tripled, from 250 in 2017, to 759 in 2018 and 2,022 in 2019.
    • Between January and March 2022, the CEMs reported providing 681 services to foreign women, which suggests that the demand for care services from Venezuelan refugee women continues to increase. 
  • The figures recorded are low with respect to the percentage of Venezuelan women in each country, evidence of the under-reporting of cases of gender-based violence against Venezuelan refugee women.
    • In Colombia, the 4,165 cases represent just 0.45% of the Venezuelan women estimated to live in the country.
    • In Peru, the 1,102 cases registered represent just 0.12% of the Venezuelan female population in the country.

Workplace violence against Venezuelan refugee women:

  • In both Colombia and Peru, there are high rates of people working in the informal sector.
    • In Peru, in 2021, the percentage of people working in the informal sector reached 76%, but the information does not disaggregate the percentage of women.
  • Venezuelan women active in the Colombian labour market:
    • 82% reported experiencing difficulties in obtaining paid work.
    • Of that 82%, only 16% had a written contract, compared to 84% who said they had a verbal contract.
    • In Colombia, the (unpaid) workload of Venezuelan women in the home is higher than that of Colombian women. A total of 46.7% of the Venezuelan migrant women in employment and 53.1% of those not in employment said that they devote at least 20 hours a week to childcare; the comparable figures for Colombian women are 35.3% and 30.6%.
  • Venezuelan women active in the labour market in Peru:
    • 29% of foreign women are in paid work, 34% work on an unpaid basis and in 37% of cases their employment status could not be determined.
    • 22% of the women have completed secondary education and 18% have completed technical or higher education. It is important to note that Venezuelan women make up 74% of foreign women in Peru.

Failure to ensure access to international protection and regularization processes:


  • Refuge:
    • As of 30 June 2021, the authorities had received 31,400 applications for refugee status and recognized 1,300.
    • The low number of asylum applications may be related to the limited access to existing information on this process. 
  • Other forms of regularization:
    • As of 26 May 2022, Temporary Protection Status (PPT) had been approved in 1,207,403 cases.
    • Among the challenges that women face in accessing PPTs are: precarious economic conditions, lack of access to electronic media and the internet, and the fact that they cannot submitting documents proving their were in the country prior to the deadline.


  • Refuge:
  • Other forms of regularization:
    • As of 2020, Peru has issued Temporary Residence Permits (CPPs). According to the Office of the Superintendent for Migration, between 9 July 2021 and 14 May 2022, 165,307 CPPs were granted to Venezuelan people.
    • Between 2019 and 2021, the Office of the Superintendent for Migration approved 2,070 applications for Migratory Status due to Vulnerability, of which 897 were to Venezuelan refugee women and 963 to Venezuelan men.

Failure to guarantee access to justice for Venezuelan refugee women:

  • Lack of knowledge among Venezuelan women about their rights and the legal remedies available
  • Lack of information on care pathways
  • Authorities’ lack of knowledge of the regulations: in both countries, the authorities require women to document their migration status as a condition of receiving their complaints, despite the fact that the law does not provide for this.
  • The persistence of compound stereotypes (the women’s gender + nationality) which are deeply rooted in Colombian and Peruvian society and are replicated in the field of justice, which blames women and stigmatizes, discriminates against and revictimizes them.
  • Difficulty in reporting gender-based violence in the workplace (particularly in the informal sector) because of the precarious economic and employment situation, as well as the lack of regularization and discrimination in access to decent work.

Failure to ensure protection from gender-based violence for Venezuelan refugee women:

  • Absence of the state, despite the existence of regulations and protocols on gender-based violence:
    • In Colombia, in 2021, 82.92% of complaints of domestic violence were at the investigation stage, 16.09% of cases had reached trial and 0.8%had reached sentencing stage. In relation to sexual crimes, 88.19% of cases of sexual crimes against women in 2021 were at the investigation stage, 6.85% had reached trial and 0.13% sentencing.
    • In Peru, in 2020 only 6 out of 138 cases of feminicide (that is, 4%) resulted in convictions for the crime of feminicide.
  • Lack of other protective measures, such as shelters:
    • International standards state that there should be a shelter for every 100,000 inhabitants, which guarantees safe emergency refuge and provides qualified counselling and assistance in finding stable housing.
      • In Lima, Peru, there are two shelters run by the Metropolitan Municipality of Lima and seven run by the Ministry for Women’s Affairs (MIMP) for a population of more than 10 million inhabitants.
      • In the border department of Norte de Santander, Colombia, there are only two shelters, funded through international cooperation.

Failure to guarantee access to healthcare for Venezuelan refugee women:

Obstacles to accessing healthcare services for Venezuelan refugee women:

  • Care is only provided in emergency situations.
  • Lack of a clear definition for frontline public officials of what is considered an emergency in cases of victims of gender-based violence, including sexual violence.

*Source: Aurora Programme data